20 Saint Marks Pl, New York, NY | Directions 1000340.729003 -73.988974
4 pm-4 am
Neighborhoods: East Village, Downtown
quite, dark, damp – very inexpensive beer and darts in the back... but you need to bring your own darts. tables are old and run down
Locals Only? No way! – In town as tourists who always do the "touristy" sites during the day, and hunting out dive bars by nite, we were sent to the East Village by a couple transit authority cops. After a short walk from the subway, we found ourselves outside what looked to be just what we were hoping to find: the Grassroots Tavern. While overdressed from our previous dinner engagement, we walked in and were practically treated like family by owner (Doug) and bartender (Maria). We stayed for hours, conversing about the bar, the neighborhood, the Village, and the city in general. Two yokels from Denver could not have found more accomodating and knowledgeable New Yorkers to talk & drink with for hours. Planning for an upcoming trip to NYC, I pulled up some reviews about Grassroots and HAD to interject against some of the negatives. Even if we have to stay all the way out in Jamaica for Thanksgiving weekend, (due to lack of room availability), we are making Grassroots a stop on at least 3 of our 5 nights in NYC. Highly recommend this place, if a no frills/little embience/no BS dive bar is what you're looking for. And, from what appears to be happening to the neighborhood, better enjoy it soon; places like Grassroots may be on their way out due to the "Disneyfication" of the East Village. In our experience, the best way to find out about a new city is to visit its dive bars, and Grassroots offered an excellent cross-section of its particular area of Manhattan. We will be there again soon!!
If you try to be nice they kick you out... – I've been here lots of times, and have always enjoyed my time there. Granted, the bar tenders aren't the nicest, but the atmosphere is usually pretty cool and it's cheap. What truly ruined my taste for the place happened this past Saturday. I was there with a bunch of friends of mine, and we were having a great time. We notice that under the table there's an empty bottle of beer, so to be nice, we put it on top of the table for someone to take away. This bald guy (who's usually the bouncer) comes over and takes the empty glasses and that bottle. Five minutes later he comes back, YELLING at us to get out that they don't deal with people who bring in outside beer. We try to tell him it was already there, and he said he doesn't care - the bottle is on our table. Then he said he wants us to tell all of our friends about our experience, so I said that we will. We'd just ordered a new pitcher (I'm a big tipper and had just gotten a free drink from the bartender and a discount on the pitcher) and so I chugged my beer - which isn't something I like to do with tasty wheat beer. He yells more and says we'd better get out NOW, that he's not kidding. So we say, we're just finishing our pitcher, and then he says "No you're not, you're getting out". Then he slammed his hands on the table, got right in my friends face, and yelled at her - which included saliva splatter - and he said he never wanted to see us there again.
real ny: a rough in the faux diamond. – to be honest, I was so aggravated with two of the reviews of this standby classic dive below that i created the account simply to respond.
firstly, a bar is not a park, a playground, or a dorm. you may enter if over 18, and drink if over 21. if there is no restaurant (and grassroots hasn't served food since the late 70's) it is ABSOLUTELY at the discretion of the staff whether to allow anyone under that age in the bar. few dive bars are an appropriate place for a 4 year old, and the bartender was doing his job to keep to that well established rule. broken glass? dirty bathroom? really, there's a nice fake mall across the street that you can try.
and to the birthday cakers? again -- it is at any establishment's discretion to allow you to bring in food from the outside. if they let you, it is a further kindness for them to not charge a fee for the privelege, as many restaurants do. bars and their employees are there to serve you, yes... but serve you ALCHOHOL. the very gracious, traditional bartenders at grassroots are a relic of a former city, where people expected patrons to have manners, as well as staff. don't order a water and bring a cake without ordering drinks first. it's totally tacky, presumptious and rude.
the reviews are accurate: god save grassroots and the holiday cocktail lounge. god rest sweetwater tavern and the stinger, pre-cafe (weird...) and god save these holdouts of a new york we loved pre-disneyfication. darts, popcorn, cheap drinks, classic bartenders, unpretentious, great classic juke, take it or leave it. i don't expect ramones and free pitchers (just be nice!) at suede, don't try to fit a square (ahem) peg in a round hole. long live the tavern!
INCOMING! – Totally awesome bar experience - one of the absolute best dive bars EVER. Just don't ask for an Irish Car Bomb - you'll be denied ;-)
PS - Also the coolest bar cat in the world - ask her story!
User review by justlikepoetry – It was cool without being at all snooty, the kind of place it's nice to hang out with friend and yell at one another over the loud jukebox. And they do make a mean Whisky Sour...
A well-worn tavern where crusty barflies and pert youngsters commingle. – The Scene
Stable-like beams above, beer-seasoned wood floor below, Grassroots' warmly lit subterranean surroundings invite hibernation, not just happy hour. Hole up for a late-afternoon pitcher and pow-wow with friends (at a table carved with two decades worth of hieroglyphs) or try and coax the reticent bar cat from among the stacked pint glasses behind the bar. There's even a small backroom where three dartboards line the wall and dusty trophies inspire players from a yellowing display case.
While some grizzled patrons boast they've patronized Grassroots since it opened in 1976, this low-ceilinged dive's central East Village location also attracts New York's endless cadre of 20-something after-workers. Its grunge tends to filter out the fashionista set, its classic-rock jukebox the hipster snobs. That leaves a friendly cross-section of humanity packing the joint on weekends.
I was HORRIFIED at their RUDENESS – I'm SHOCKED how mistreated I was at Grassroots -on my birthday no less. Before arriving, we got permission to bring food/cake. I asked the old man at the bar, "Can I start off with a glass of water?" First he seemed to joke when he replied, "NO, you don't come to feast and drink water, you come to pay for alcohol!" When I realized he was actually serious I explained I was dehydrated and needed water before drinking. I said I invited 20+ friends that would give him business and is this how I'm going to be treated??? He actually had the nerve to say, "Look lady, just get outa here" and brushed me away!! Later, I was HORRIFIED when I witnessed the bar staff literally THROW MY BIRTHDAY CAKE IN THE TRASH!! Need I explain more why I will NEVER set foot in Grassroots again?
the absolute best dive around. – Ah, Grassroots. I think it's impossible to walk into this joint and not have a good time. The bartenders always seem to buy you a drink or two and that cat that roams the premises is ultra cool. All this and cheap drinks and one of the nicer crowds you'll find in the entire East Village. Rock on.
don't slip in the suds – great bartenders. cheap drinks. nice cat. popcorn.
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